When your nose isn’t working, it can affect your ability to smell, taste, and breathe. In some cases, it can also cause facial pain and headaches. If you’re experiencing nasal symptoms that are causing you misery, it’s important to seek medical attention so you can start enjoying life again. Here are the three most common nasal problems and suggestions on how you can get relief.
Sometimes after you’ve had a virus or allergies, your sinuses become inflamed and an infection settles in. According to the CDC, almost 30 million Americans develop chronic sinus infections (or sinusitis) each year, making it one of the most common health complaints in the country.
Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
• Thick nasal discharge that may drain down the back of the throat
• Facial pain and pressure
To treat a sinus infection, your doctor may first recommend decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal steroid spray and if a bacterial infection is suspected, he may prescribe antibiotics. A sinus infection that does not go away or keeps returning despite medicinal efforts may require endoscopic sinus surgery to remove the inflamed tissue.
If the vertical wall between your nostrils (called the septum) is shifted off-center, you may experience chronic nasal problems that medicine won’t help. The nasal septum should divide the left and right sides of the nose equally, allowing air to flow through both sides evenly. A deviated septum causes more air to flow through one side and blocks the other, causing trouble breathing.
Other symptoms of a deviated septum include:
• Frequent nosebleeds
• Chronic sinus infections
• Postnasal drip
• Facial pain and headaches
• Noisy breathing while sleeping (in infants and young children)
Surgery is the best treatment for a deviated septum. Your ENT doctor will use a tiny tool to reposition the septum to the center of the nose, and you should be able to go home the same day. In most cases, you’ll notice relief from sinus infections and associated symptoms within 3-6 months.
Nasal polyps are small growths in the lining of the sinuses resulting from inflammation due to allergies, asthma, drug sensitivity or auto-immune disorders. The larger the polyps, the more severe breathing problems or sinus infections can be.
Symptoms of nasal polyps include:
• A decreased or absent sense of smell
• Loss of the ability to taste
• A runny or stuffy nose
• Postnasal drip
• Facial pain, pressure or headaches
• Pain in your upper teeth
Some medications can shrink these growths, but they often require surgical removal. Your ENT doctor will examine you and give a recommendation for a treatment plan to eliminate nasal polyps.
Sound Health Physicians are Experts in Nasal Problems
If you’re experiencing chronic sinus infections or are having trouble breathing, smelling or tasting, give us a call. Our ENT doctors will discuss your medical history and examine you to determine the cause and then develop a treatment plan. To schedule an appointment, call (314) 332-1377 in MO or (618) 235-3687 in IL.